Modern Israel

By John Thiel

There is a constant debate among believers of the Seventh-day Adventist faith regarding the mainstream organisation. By some it is said that we must not call the Seventh-day Adventist church Babylon. They quote Spirit of Prophecy statements applicable to the organisation in the time of Ellen White’s membership in it. Yet others assert that the organisation today has fallen and therefore can be called Babylon. It is the purpose of this article to research God’s word and find God’s judgement on the matter. Does He ever inspire His penmen and women to coin the Seventh-day Adventist organisation by the term Babylon when He sends messages in regards to its moral condition? The term applied to the Seventh-day Adventist organisation in Sister White’s time can be found among many references.

I was shown that those who are trying to obey God and purify their souls through obedience to the truth are God’s chosen people, His modern Israel. God says of them, through Peter: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.” As it was a crime for Amalek to take advantage of the children of Israel in their weakness and weariness, to annoy, perplex, and discourage them, so it was no small sin for you to be closely watching to discover the weakness, the haltings, the errors and sins of God’s afflicted people, and expose the same to their enemies. {2T 109.1}

‘Modern Israel’ is applied to the Seventh-day Adventist church. Observe her responsibility as recorded:

God has called His church in this day, as He called ancient Israel, to stand as a light in the earth. By the mighty cleaver of truth, the messages of the first, second, and third angels, He has separated them from the churches and from the world to bring them into a sacred nearness to Himself. He has made them the depositaries of His law and has committed to them the great truths of prophecy for this time. Like the holy oracles committed to ancient Israel, these are a sacred trust to be communicated to the world. The three angels of Revelation 14 represent the people who accept the light of God’s messages and go forth as His agents to sound the warning throughout the length and breadth of the earth. {5T 455.2}

It is clearly evident that the church Sister White was a member of was here referred to. If this church would have done its work faithfully, Israel could have already been in the Promised Land. But observe the revelation regarding ‘Modern Israel’.

For forty years did unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan. The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan. In neither case were the promises of God at fault. It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord’s professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years.–Manuscript 4, 1883. {Ev 696.2}

Christ’s Identification of Faithful and Unfaithful

To help ‘modern Israel’, those yearning for the promised advent, Jesus identifies two classes of ministries within Israel at the time of His imminent return.

Matthew 24:44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. 45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46 Blessed [is] that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. 48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49 And shall begin to smite [his] fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for [him], and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint [him] his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Jesus identifies two servants that rule His household, and Inspiration says the people in general rise no higher than their ministers. So as do the ministers so do the people. One class is faithful modern Israel and the other unfaithful, or evil. The faithful are eating and drinking meat, or food, in due season. What does that mean?

Meat in Due Season

Jeremiah 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.

Indeed it was none other than what John was asked to do in Revelation.

Revelation 10:8 And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go [and] take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. 9 And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take [it], and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.

To take the word of God relevant to the time and live by it. These people lived by “present truth” and thus were faithful. However the other class would not say outright, “My Lord delayeth His coming”, but their actions showed what their heart was saying. What were they doing? Smiting the faithful and eating and drinking with the drunken. Who were they? Revelation 17:1, 2 and 18:3 clearly identify the wine of Babylon, the doctrines that Babylon brews, drinks, and dishes out to her people. Isaiah gives the detail:

Isaiah 29:9 Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. 10 For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. 11 And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which [men] deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it [is] sealed: 12 And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. 13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near [me] with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: 14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, [even] a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise [men] shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent [men] shall be hid. 15 Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?

Evidently modern Israel has two kinds of communities, and the one seen of God as the evil servant cannot be called Babylon because it eats and drinks with Babylon. It is a sector of modern Israel still claiming Adventist heritage but not living by its principles and true doctrines.

Spirit of Prophecy Clarification

Does the Spirit of Prophecy reveal the segregation of these two sectors in modern Israel? Back in 1888 a deciding event took place at the General Conference session at Minneapolis. Two men surnamed Waggoner and Jones presented the message of Christ Our Righteousness, which a large number of the leadership rejected. Message after message was sent by God through the pen of Sister White to Battle Creek, the General Conference Headquarters, appealing to the leadership to cease their opposition to it. One such warning summarises well the nature of the situation. It is recorded in TM 78-80 and 1SM 234-235.

An unwillingness to yield up preconceived opinions, and to accept this truth lay at the foundation of a large share of the opposition manifested at Minneapolis against the Lord’s message through Brethren [E.J.] Waggoner and [A.T.] Jones. By exciting that opposition Satan succeeded in shutting away from our people in a large measure, the special power of the Holy Spirit that God longed to impart to them. The enemy prevented them from obtaining that efficiency which might have been theirs in carrying the truth to the world, as the apostles proclaimed it after the day of Pentecost. The light that is to lighten the whole earth with its glory was resisted, and by the action of our own brethren has been in a great degree kept away from the world. {1SM 234.6}

Because of this action, observe Sister White’s rebuke of these brethren:

Men who are entrusted with weighty responsibilities, but who have no living connection with God have been and are doing despite to His Holy Spirit. … Warnings have come from God again and again for these men, but they have cast them aside and ventured on in the same course. {TM 78.2}

The perils of the last days are upon us. Satan takes the control of every mind that is not decidedly under the control of the Spirit of God. Some have been cultivating hatred against the men whom God has commissioned to bear a special message to the world. They began this satanic work at Minneapolis. Afterward, when they saw and felt the demonstration of the Holy Spirit testifying that the message was of God, they hated it the more, because it was a testimony against them. They would not humble their hearts to repent, to give God the glory, and vindicate the right. They went on in their own spirit, filled with envy, jealousy, and evil surmisings, as did the Jews. They opened their hearts to the enemy of God and man. Yet these men have been holding positions of trust, and have been molding the work after their own similitude, as far as they possibly could. . . . {TM 79.3}

Sister White wrote under inspiration many letters and manuscripts addressing this disaster in the SDA organisation and appealing to these brethren that held these high positions. Today four volumes of these collected articles can be obtained under the title of “1888 Materials”. Among these articles appears the despairing expression:

I was confirmed in all I had stated in Minneapolis, that a reformation must go through the churches. Reforms must be made, for spiritual weakness and blindness were upon the people who had been blessed with great light and precious opportunities and privileges. As reformers they had come out of the denominational churches, but they now act a part similar to that which the churches acted. We hoped that there would not be the necessity for another coming out. While we will endeavor to keep the “unity of the Spirit” in the bonds of peace, we will not with pen or voice cease to protest against bigotry. {1888 356.4} 

The Evil Servant Strengthens

The Spirit of Prophecy did not give up on these leading brethren for many years. Truth was still taught by the church but as revealed in the statement in 1888 Materials Satan was permitted to influence things to mould the work after his similitude. After years of remonstrating with the General Conference brethren at Battle Creek we observe the following in 1903.

After I received word in regard to the excellent meeting of confession and unity that had been held in Battle Creek I was writing in my diary and was about to record the thankfulness I felt because a change had come, when my hand was arrested, and there came to me the words: Write it not. No change for the better has taken place. Teachings that are turning souls from the truth are being presented as of great worth. Doctrines are being taught that lead into bypaths and forbidden paths; doctrines that lead men to act in harmony with their own inclinations and to work out their unsanctified purposes; doctrines that, if received, would destroy the dignity and power of God’s people, obscuring the light that would otherwise come to them through God’s appointed agencies. {8T 231.2}

Can we see how the class identified by Jesus as the “evil servant” is now coming into position right at the very heart of the church, affecting the very doctrines it stood for? How does this demise continue according to Inspiration? How far reaching would this doctrinal change be as time elapses?

In a representation which passed before me, I saw a certain work being done by medical missionary workers. Our ministering brethren were looking on, watching what was being done, but they did not seem to UNDERSTAND [ISA. 56:11 CANNOT UNDERSTAND]. The foundation of our faith, which was established by so much prayer, such earnest searching of the Scriptures, was being taken down, pillar by pillar. Our faith was to have nothing to rest upon– THE SANCTUARY WAS GONE, THE ATONEMENT WAS GONE. . . . Do you wonder that I have something to say, when I see the pillars of our faith beginning to be moved? Seductive theories are being taught in such a way that we shall not recognize them unless we have clear spiritual discernment. {UL 152.5-6} (emphasis and brackets added)

Is this a reality today? Who understands the Sanctuary doctrine and the Atonement in Adventist churches today? In Sister White’s time, she and the pioneers were alive to raise their voice and continue to give “meat in due season”, but what would happen after their death? Would the General Conference of the church fall to the advancing demise?

Open Hostility between the Two Servants

While Sister White lived she felt the smiting of the evil servant, her own brethren, which God prepared her for in a dream she cited in Testimonies to Ministers, p. 578. She was proscribed by those she knew who were revealed to her as agents of the papacy, and the bystanders who were her friends failed to come to her rescue. So opposing were the leaders to her frequent warnings that she was sent to Australia. She ultimately came to the stand which she wrote to Edson and Willie White:

I have but very little confidence that the Lord is giving these men in positions of responsibility spiritual eyesight and heavenly discernment. I am thrown into perplexity over their course; and I desire now to attend to my special work, to have no part in any of their councils, and to attend no camp-meetings, nigh nor afar off. My mind shall not be dragged into confusion by the tendency they manifest to work directly contrary to the light that God has given me. I am done. I will preserve my God-given intelligence. (December 2, 1902) {17MR 64.3}

Jesus however reveals that faithful servants such as Sister White would continue.

I saw a company who stood well guarded and firm, giving no countenance to those who would unsettle the established faith of the body. God looked upon them with approbation. {EW 258.3}

Was the leadership of the church in Sister White’s time warned that if they did not cease their opposition, history of separation would be repeated? Would Christ’s departure from ancient Israel be repeated in modern Israel?

Read the words of Christ in Matthew 23:23: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” These denunciations are given as a warning to all who “outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within” “are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” They say, We are delivered to do all these things. They also say, “If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore,” said Jesus, “ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.” What lessons are here; how fearful and decisive! Jesus said, “Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city.” This prophecy was literally fulfilled by the Jews in their treatment of Christ and of the messengers whom God sent to them. Will men in these last days follow the example of those whom Christ condemned? {TM 79.1}

These terrible predictions they have not as yet carried out to the full; but if God spares their lives, and they nourish the same spirit that marked their course of action both before and after the Minneapolis meeting, they will fill up to the full the deeds of those whom Christ condemned when He was upon the earth. {TM 79.2}

We see clearly from history that indeed this evil class of servants have continued their course of action, and Inspiration had already foreshadowed the action of the faithful servant.

Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan. If doubts and unbelief are cherished, the faithful ministers will be removed from the people who think they know so much. “If thou hadst known,” said Christ, “even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.” {TM 409.3}

The paragraph above clearly reveals the evil servant.

Unsanctified ministers are arraying themselves against God. They are praising Christ and the god of this world in the same breath. While professedly they receive Christ, they embrace Barabbas, and by their actions say, “Not this Man, but Barabbas.” Let all who read these lines, take heed. Satan has made his boast of what he can do. He thinks to dissolve the unity which Christ prayed might exist in His church. He says, “I will go forth and be a lying spirit to deceive those that I can, to criticize, and condemn, and falsify.” Let the son of deceit and false witness be entertained by a church that has had great light, great evidence, and that church will discard the message the Lord has sent, and receive the most unreasonable assertions and false suppositions and false theories. Satan laughs at their folly, for he knows what truth is. {TM 409.2}

In clear lines we can discern that the two classes of Seventh-day Adventist servants have developed, and Desire of Ages, p. 232 is clearly relevant for those who desire to follow Jesus today and who are seeking to know where Jesus is in the ranks of Seventh-day Adventist people.

As the light and life of men was rejected by the ecclesiastical authorities in the days of Christ, so it has been rejected in every succeeding generation. Again and again the history of Christ’s withdrawal from Judea has been repeated. When the Reformers preached the word of God, they had no thought of separating themselves from the established church; but the religious leaders would not tolerate the light, and those that bore it were forced to seek another class, who were longing for the truth. In our day few of the professed followers of the Reformers are actuated by their spirit. Few are listening for the voice of God, and ready to accept truth in whatever guise it may be presented. Often those who follow in the steps of the Reformers are forced to turn away from the churches they love, in order to declare the plain teaching of the word of God. And many times those who are seeking for light are by the same teaching obliged to leave the church of their fathers, that they may render obedience. {DA 232.2}

We who live in this far-flung generation from that of Sister White must search diligently to recognise the chosen people of God today. As already quoted from Early Writings, p. 258 there is a company of God’s people and the principle of the statement in Desire of Ages, p. 232 must guide us in our diligent search. This is enlarged in the following:

The Lord Jesus will always have a chosen people to serve Him. When the Jewish people rejected Christ, the Prince of life, He took from them the kingdom of God and gave it unto the Gentiles. God will continue to work on this principle with every branch of His work. When a church proves unfaithful to the word of the Lord, whatever their position may be, however high and sacred their calling, the Lord can no longer work with them. Others are then chosen to bear important responsibilities. But, if these in turn do not purify their lives from every wrong action, if they do not establish pure and holy principles in all their borders, then the Lord will grievously afflict and humble them and, unless they repent, will remove them from their place and make them a reproach. . . . {UL 131.3}

Former Brethren

Although Sister White had hoped there would not have to be another coming out, it became evident that the incessant “protest against the bigotry” of the leading brethren proved too much for them. They refused to be corrected and developed a dual nature, well described:

They are praising Christ and the god of this world in the same breath. {TM 409.2}

Isaiah 29:15 Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?

Is that not the evil servant who says in his heart, not with the lips, “My Lord delayeth His coming”? Cleary then we have a servant with his household who still professes Seventh-day Adventist doctrines. Lip service is rendered, but their actions are not in harmony with their profession. Their fellowship with the world and the fallen churches is evident. They may not be Babylon in doctrine but they certainly eat and drink with her. What is the Spirit of Prophecy counsel regarding those who desire to be truly faithful?

It is a solemn statement that I make to the church, that not one in twenty whose names are registered upon the church books are prepared to close their earthly history, and would be as verily without God and without hope in the world as the common sinner. They are professedly serving God, but they are more earnestly serving mammon. This half-and-half work is a constant denying of Christ, rather than a confessing of Christ. So many have brought into the church their own unsubdued spirit, unrefined; their spiritual taste is perverted by their own immoral, debasing corruptions, symbolizing the world in spirit, in heart, in purpose, confirming themselves in lustful practices, and are full of deception through and through in their professed Christian life. Living as sinners, claiming to be Christians! Those who claim to be Christians and will confess Christ should come out from among them and touch not the unclean thing, and be separate. . . . {ChS 41.1}

To separate from these unfaithful people, this household supervised by the unfaithful servant, does not mean that they should be called Babylon. Sister White calls them something else:

The Scriptures speak of the large class of professors who are not doers. Many who claim to believe in God deny Him by their works. Their worship of money, houses, and lands marks them as idolaters and apostates. {CS 223.1}

Are those who hunger and thirst for truth today being fed with meat in due season at the hand of the Seventh-day Adventist organisation? How is it with the atonement, the great truth around which all other truths cluster? Is it gone? That Jesus became at one with us, made of the same flesh as we are, namely sinful flesh, and combined His divine nature with ours so we may conquer all sin in our sinful flesh. Observe their denial of this truth.

Many years ago a statement appeared in Bible Readings for the Home Circle (1915 edition) which declared that Christ came “in sinful flesh.” Just how this expression slipped into the book is difficult to know. … But when that book was revised in 1946 this expression was eliminated, since it was recognized as being out of harmony with our true posi­tion. {The Ministry, Sept. 1956}

[Christ] took sinless nature of Adam before the fall … [He] took human form but not corrupted sinful nature … [He] took Adam’s sinless human nature. {Ibid.}

The fact that His own human nature was entirely sinless, the fact that He did not inherit our fallen condition, was no advantage at all. {Supplement to the Ministry, p. 15, published by the GC Ministerial Association}

If this is what this professed servant of God feeds his flock, how can they hope to attain to perfection and be fitted for a place with God? By this error the Sanctuary doctrine of a two-apartment sanctuary ministration is also gone. Where does the hungry flock hear this truth in the organisational ministry? Consequently the sealing work since 1844 is obliterated. Where is this grand truth explained by the ministry today? These and kindred truths can only be received outside of the bona fide church ministry. Does this Seventh-day Adventist ministry eat and drink with the drunken? Research for yourself how closely the organisation is associated with the National Council of Churches and with the world Council of Churches. Has the world been united with the church? Is she fraternizing with the fallen churches? If the answer is obvious, then how real is the word of inspiration?

The world must not be introduced into the church, and married to the church, forming a bond of unity. Through this means the church will become indeed corrupt, and as stated in Revelation, “a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” {TM 265.1}

If most earnest vigilance is not manifested at the great heart of the work to protect the interests of the cause, the church will become as corrupt as the churches of other denominations. {4T 512.3}

In spite of this we are comforted that God has a faithful servant over a faithful household removed from “those who think they know so much”. This ministry is seen by the prophet in the following statements. See also Isaiah 8:12-16.

[Isa. 8:11-16 quoted] Here are plainly represented two distinct parties, formed from a company that was once united. The members of one of these parties are in resistance to the will of God. They have taken themselves from the side of the loyal and true, and are now resisting the warnings of the Spirit of God. {RH, July 18, 1907 par. 7}

The end of all things is at hand. God is moving upon every mind that is open to receive the impressions of His Holy Spirit. He is sending our messengers that they may give the warning in every locality. God is testing the devotion of His churches and their willingness to render obedience to the Spirit’s guidance. Knowledge is to be increased. The messengers of Heaven are to be seen running to and fro, seeking in every possible way to warn the people of the coming judgments and presenting the glad tidings of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. The standard of righteousness is to be exalted. The Spirit of God is moving upon men’s hearts, and those who respond to its influence will become lights in the world. Everywhere they are seen going forth to communicate to others the light they have received as they did after the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. And as they let their light shine, they receive more and more of the Spirit’s power. The earth is lighted with the glory of God. {ML 63.2}

But O, sad picture! He will take his Holy Spirit from the church, and give it to others who will appreciate it. {RH, July 16, 1895 par. 11}

There is no greater evidence that those who have received great light do not appreciate that light, than is given by their refusal to let their light shine upon those who are in darkness, and devoting their time and energies in celebrating forms and ceremonies. Thoughts of the inner work, the necessary purity of heart, are not entertained. The absence of harmony with God becomes apparent. The light grows dim, goes out; the candlestick has been removed. There is much exercising of man-made authority by those to whom God has not given his wisdom because they did not feel the need of the wisdom from above. {RH, July 16, 1895 par. 12}

If we love God with all our being we will find our way through the perplexities of these times. We will recognise the voice of the Shepherd and identify His flock. Among modern Israel we will discern the evil servant from the faithful and become part of the message – meat in due season – which he proclaims. May God grant us to be identified with the five wise virgins that join the bridal party and enter with it into the Bridegroom’s house.


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Posted on 19/03/2011, in Israel, Short Studies, The Lost Sheep of the Modern House of Israel. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. So, how does this “bridal party” find each other? I mean, if they are going to greet with the “holy kiss” and wash one another’s feet, it would be logical to assume that they find each other somewhere. How does that work? Where do they meet? Do they go by a particular name? What do you think?

  2. Who is the “bridal party” in your understanding?

    • Then it was that the synagogue of Satan knew that God had loved us who could wash one another’s feet, and salute the brethren with a holy kiss, and they worshiped at our feet. {CET 58.2}

      I thought this might be the final bridal party. What do you think? They must know each other and fellowship together because they “wash one another’s feet and salute the brethren with a holy kiss.”

  3. The saying of Christ’s Testimonies ……”The light grows dim, goes out; the candlestick has been removed. There is much exercising of man-made authority by those to whom God has not given his wisdom because they did not feel the need of the wisdom from above.” {RH, July 16, 1895 par. 12}

    Brethren, the removing of the Candlestick which is the symbol of the Truth, is the spiritual SPEWING OUT of Laodicea. Christ rejected the GC SDA Church and their leaders. From now on Christ did not work thru the SDA leadership anymore, but is trying to talk to the individual member thru his warning messengers = Rev.18:1-5

  4. Thanks for a great study.Its truly a eye opener.God bless your further studies.!!!

  5. people today who profess to be seventh day adventist love to be called that,but when they are away from the church to the home there they will be earthly,all worldly things we put aside on Sabbath,e.g buying /reading papers watching tv .i myself think its ok watching relious matters,but anything worldly it would not be on.people these dayswe can prepare meals easy enough.i am not being legalistic but we must serve the Lord truely.go for a stroll have family or maybe group talk on religious matters.i believe that the Sabbath is a burden for a lot of people in our church.we should go back to the pioneering days and we could learn a lot by them.some will bring me down but i serve my Lord truthfully,no i am not blowing my own trumpet but that is the case.worship properly or its not are carrying a falsehood on your shoulders and bring family members in that way the law and the testimony is the way forward.we are peculiar to the lets Praise and give Glory to the Lord or get out.brian ,wales uk

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